BY: TANNER KENNEY
Early yesterday morning, President Donald Trump announced that he would be cancelling an upcoming meeting with the Supreme Leader of North Korean, Kim Jong-Un. Widely known as the North Korean summit, the goal of the meeting was to negotiate the dismantling of the nation’s nuclear programs in addition to various other topics such as a continued military presence in the region, sanctions relief and future economic cooperation. The historic summit would have taken place on June 12th in a neutral location, the island nation of Singapore, and could have resulted in unprecedented concessions from the North Korean government.
Merely weeks after the leaders of North and South Korea broke decades of tradition and shook hands on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Trump cited Kim’s “foolish” actions in the weeks leading up to the potential dialogue as the driving reason for aborting the event. Apparently, the Trump Administration now believes the meeting would be “inappropriate, at this time.” However, President Trump also stated that the meeting may still very well take place, confounding observers and world leaders, alike.
For his part in the failed negotiations, South Korean President Moon Jae-in was “very perplexed and sorry” for the latest twist in the Trump Presidency’s attempts to engage in diplomatic dialogues with hostile nations. The termination of the long-proposed meeting also carries with it great embarrassment for the Trump Administration as it had already ordered the minting of a commemorative coin celebrating the event.
Moreover, the poorly-worded missive was apparently dictated by President Trump in its entirety. But this sudden change-of-course also carries implications far greater than minor embarrassment far beyond the diplomatic channels that were utilized to strengthen the relationship between the morally-debased State Department and its North Korean analogue.
The threat of nuclear war between the two nations has reached a fever pitch as Kim’s desire to be seen as a military powerhouse on the global stage has taken the form of increased nuclear weapons testing, heightened criticism of any and all diplomatic opponents and accusations of cyber-malfeasance. Further cementing the intentions behind President Trump’s announcement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also stated that North Korea may face additional economic sanctions, in the coming weeks.
Regardless of whether the meeting takes place on June 12th or not, the two nations have a massive diplomatic river to ford and will have a difficult time doing so should either party continue to lambast the other in such a public setting and manner. More importantly, tensions in the Korean peninsula are likely to be heightened jeopardizing all attempts at a détente in the region.
Tanner Kenney is an energy and media professional with a background in journalism and received his M.S. in Global Affairs, Environment & Energy Policy from NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. Recently, Tanner has focused on the advocacy of sustainable development through renewable energy technologies, transportation efficiency, and inclusive public policy.
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